They say extreme poverty is a threat to human security. The truth of these words reflects in the hungry eyes of poor folks, all around the world. The underprivileged section of society needs our attention. Helping out those who need financial stability is our moral responsibility. And one great way of helping these people is Zakat-ul-Fitr, or simply known as Fitrana.
Usually, people confuse Zakat and Fitrana. In this article, we try to brush away that ambiguity by explaining Fitrana in detail. We hope that by the end of this discussion, you will be better acquainted with ideology and principles which govern Fitrana.
What is Zakat ul Fitr or Fitrana
First, let us define Fitrana. It is the charitable donation that must be given to the poor before Eid-ul-Fitr prayer. By compulsion, a Muslim has to pay Fitrana by the end of Ramadan. Fitrana is also known by the term Zakat-ul-Fitr. For acquiring the love and closeness of Allah (SWT), helping out Almighty’s subjects is important. Fitrana provides us with a chance to help those, who can’t help themselves. For propelling someone towards a stable and sustainable financial status, there is no better way than assisting them via Fitrana.
Why Fitrana is paid?
Understanding the ideology behind paying Fitrana is important. And there is no better way to understand the concept than understanding the saying of Prophet (PBUH). Ibn-e- Abbas (RA) reported:
“The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) ordained Zakat-ul-Fitr to purify the fasting person from indecent words or action and to provide food for needy. It is accepted as Zakat for person who gives it before Eid, but a Sadaqah for one who gives it after the prayer”
Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah
It answers the why question, doesn’t it? For purification of the efforts you put in the holy month of Ramadan, paying this small amount of money is necessary. The other purpose which giving Fitrana serves is, of course, the financial assistance of underprivileged individuals.
How much is paid in Fitrana
The next big question. How do we calculate the Fitrana? Keep in mind that the calculations of Fitrana are completely different from those of Zakat. Once again, the words of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) serve as the guiding light. Narrated by Ibn-e-Umar (RA):
“Allah’s Apostle enjoined the payment of one Sa’ of dates or one Sa’ of barley as Zakat-ul-Fitr on every Muslim slave or free, male or female, young or old, and he ordered that it be paid before the people went out to offer the ‘Id (Eid) prayer”
Source: Sahih Bukhari Vol.002, Book 025, Hadith 579
Now, one Sa’ is equivalent to four times the amount you can hold by cupping two hands together. You must not confuse yourselves, it is a measurement by volume and not weight. The price of one Sa’ of barley is nearly $2.00. That of dates starts from $1 but the really good ones go as much as $60-70. Hence, the calculations tell us that the minimum amount of Fitrana needed to be paid by one person comes around to be $2.50-3. Now, it is totally up to you whether you pay the Fitrana with whatever food you set as reference. Some other options include raisins, cheese, rice, and corn.
When is Fitrana paid?
Like mentioned before, one has to make sure that he or she pays it before the end of the holy month of Ramadan. This is made compulsory so that those who can’t afford the worldly luxuries could celebrate the joyous occasion of Eid. People usually pay it right before the Eid prayer, which is hardly the ideal time for this ritual. If you pay it after the Eid prayer, it will be considered Sadaqah.
Which family members have to pay Fitrana
All family members must pay it. And yes, that does involve children. The head of the family calculates the Fitrana amount per person. It is then multiplied by the total number of family members. The amount is then handed over to those, who need it desperately.
Zakat is the annual 2.5 percent a person must pay, to a specific group of people. Zakat is calculated based on the overall assets a person has.
Zakat and Fitrana: A comparison
Now, many people tend to confuse Zakat and Fitrana. While it is known as Zakat-ul-Fitr, there is a stark difference between the two terms, concerning those who get them. You can give Zakat only to a specific set of people, as defined by the holy Quran.
To make sure that all Muslims can celebrate the joyous occasion of Eid, it must be paid well before its due time. Only then, one can hope for Allah’s blessings and forgiveness.